what's your take on modding gear?

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pflosi
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what's your take on modding gear?

Post by pflosi » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:25 pm

hey guys,

I've been thinking for this question for myself for some time now, and I thought I'd see what you folks think about it.

I wanna know what you think about modding gear (functional mods). Is it better to mod gear to expand the functionality, or would you rather keep the gear in original shape? Do you think it's a value loss or gain if equipement is modded? would you buy (2nd hand) gear that's already modded? What about the risks when modding gear? What do you think about cosmetic mods?

My intention is to talk about functional mods, but I don't care if you want to share your thoughts about circuit bending too (I don't want to say that circuit bending isnt functional at all, but I kinda exclude random soldering to get some funny noises; but as said, share your thoughts about it as well if you cannot leave it). Servicing / repairs are out, since most of the time it's a necessity.

This question really brings up a cognitive dissonance for me. Better functionality or original aesthetics?

Any contribution is appreciated :)

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:46 pm

I wouldn't buy anything modded that didn't look professionally done, and I wouldn't want my gear to come full of holes of no use to me either. My preference would be for non-modded gear. Maybe I'd make some exceptions for things like added MIDI to an old poly, or a filter CV socket added to an old mono, or something similar. But those 'modular' mods I've seen on things like the MC-202 - ugh. I removed a shabby multi-out from my old 606 after many years of tolerating it. I don't miss it. I can multi-track.

As for value, I suppose it's dependent on usefulness and desirability - for me, many mods detract from that. For others, perhaps the opposite. I like using gear as it was made. The only mod I've considered doing recently is adding a regulated DC input to one of my DR-55s, and maybe a Sync24 or trigger input so I can sync it from other gear.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by gigundusdongus » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:53 pm

If the mod. is a necessary one that is done by a pro. so be it. Circuit bending should be kept to cheap pieces that aren't very useful otherwise...no question about it.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by I12 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:01 pm

i've bought modded gear and done my own mods

one thing thats really important imo
if you are going to do them is to do it
as professionally as possible.
take your time, research, use good equipment and tools
plot out where your going to drill holes very precisely, make wiring neat and reliable
etc.
Nothing worse than a slipshod mod.

in the past i've bought a robin whittle fully modded tr808, his ms 20, have a dv800 that he did some mods but the guy who boxed it up, failed badly which needs to be redone

Done a kenton midi kit to an ob-x, fully patched out an arp avatar, thought long and hard about patching out a a sh-5, temporarily patched a sem and recently modded 2 cr 8000s
see here: Image
plus other stuff i dont remember now :?:

I generally wouldn't do it to mint stuff but the avatar was E.C.
but it had so much potential and space for the mods i couldn't resist
and opened it up as mini 2600!

point being if it adds to the variety of sound and can be done well, go for it.
Dont bother its not worth it!

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by EmptySet » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:47 pm

1. x0xb0x mods - yes
2. MIDI retrofit - probably yes
3. a necessary "fix" (to remedy a common failure) - probably yes (e.g. the infamous VFX-SD bendable circuit board cluster… the infamous Polysix battery… the infamous ARP Omni caps… etc)
4. anything else - probably not

I tend to like my gear like I like my cars: stock if at all possible. Some designs are "art" to me. I like to play the design that the "artist" created for me.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by druzz » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:24 pm

if youre totally happy with a piece of gear i guess you have no reason to change it .

but if you like the sound of a synth but something is bugging you or something is missing for you to fully enjoy it , why not bend it to youre needs.

i guess i like the idea of making something unique or different.

i never moded anything but someday maybe the jx-3p midi mod will be necessary if i keep it .

i dont think i would mod a synth that already offer a lot of tasteful possibilities . but on a limited ,boring or crappy machine i guess it could had some edge and usability .

oh yeah i just remembered my tech added a battery holder in my matrix 6r. but i guess this is almost easier than replacing the battery without installing one.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by druzz » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:26 pm

if youre totally happy with a piece of gear i guess you have no reason to change it .

but if you like the sound of a synth but something is bugging you or something is missing for you to fully enjoy it , why not bend it to youre needs.

i guess i like the idea of making something unique or different.

i never moded anything but someday maybe the jx-3p midi mod will be necessary if i keep it .

i dont think i would mod a synth that already offer a lot of tasteful possibilities . but on a limited ,boring or crappy machine i guess it could had some edge and usability .

oh yeah i just remembered my tech added a battery holder in my matrix 6r. but i guess this is almost easier than replacing the battery without installing one.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by Earthman7883 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:07 pm

I wouldn't buy gear that has any visible modifications. These include extra holes, switches, knobs, lights/light colour change, etc. Also, I wouldn't buy any vintage analogue synth with retrofitted MIDI.

As for the internal changes like expanded memory, updated OS, etc - it wouldn't influence my buying decisions and could potentially come as a bonus.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by nvbrkr » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:44 pm

It's okay on gear like the Poly-800, because there's plenty of those around in their original shape as well. But most vintage synths should be left as they are. Then of course there are also the regrettable paint jobs - like a camouflage patterned Yamaha CS20m that someone tried to sell over here recently.

On most items, modding should decrease the value in my opinion. MIDI retrofits seem to increase the price quite considerably, but to me such items are hardly of any appeal.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by Fogflip » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:18 pm

I am happy with adding europa to my jp-6 as far as cosmetic mods if you plan on reselling it you probably wont get what you think. But if it makes you happy do it.
Take it sleazy

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by cornutt » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:35 am

Vintage stuff, generally not. I have done some hot rodding on my EML 101, but I did it in such a way that I didn't have to drill any new holes in the panel (used mult jack positions for the additional jacks I needed), and everything can be put back to original if needed.

Newer stuff, why not? I've modded several modules in my modular.
Switches, knobs, buttons, LEDs, LCD screens, monitors, keys, mice, jacks, sockets. Now two joysticks!

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:53 am

You guys are too precious. If you think the mod makes something better and it's done in a professional way then go for it. I did a crapload of mods to my first x0xb0x (yeah I know they don't really count) and sold it for $1000 more than what it cost me. I bought my E1010 with a mod to replace the footswitch in with a CV in, it's awesome.

The only thing with mods is that you should always document them properly, nothing worse than buying something second-hand and seeing it's got a couple of extra jacks but you have no idea what they do.

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by Solderman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:58 am

The US Air Force gave me an education in basic electronics, so I figured I'd use it when the notion strikes me. I tend to have done the mods on gear I've done in the past to add features that I know I can do that I'm curious to see the outcome of.
The mods I looked forward to the most, at the time, were adding CV/Gate control to a MiniKorg 700s and the P9 kick drum decay mod for the TR606. The Novamods on my SH-101 and subtle additions to my Polivoks were mostly because I thought the extra functionality would inspire me to use it more.

The modding process itself wasn't always fun. Careful planning and even more careful doing them, for sure.
I decided to keep the first two things I modded, the TR606 and SH-101, mostly because they were my first attempts and have some mistakes. I'd like to think I've gotten better over time.
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by I12 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:06 am

I bought my E1010 with a mod to replace the footswitch in with a CV in, it's awesome.
your in victoria, oz?

was that outa the swop shop in carlton?

if it twas, think it was mine and i that did the mod.

:ugeek:
Dont bother its not worth it!

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Re: what's your take on modding gear?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:02 am

Yeah it was! :D Nice work with it, it's great. Don't know why you'd ever sell the E1010, it's probably the best sounding analogue delay I've ever used. Will have to get the Moog to make sure though...

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